Gabriel Obertan completes move to Newcastle

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The Independent Online

French winger Gabriel Obertan insists it was an easy decision to leave Manchester United and join Newcastle.

The 22-year-old today arrived at St James' Park on a five-year contract after finding first-team opportunities limited at Old Trafford during his two-year spell.

The former Bordeaux attacker described the switch as "a great move" despite leaving the current Barclays Premier League champions.

He told his new club's website, nufc.co.uk: "I spoke with some of my friends and Newcastle is a big club with history in England, so it's a great move.

"I'm just really happy to be here because this is still a big club for me.

"It wasn't really a difficult decision to come here.

"I spent two good years in Manchester but it was a bit difficult with the competition and I really needed a club where I could play more games.

"I know it won't be easy to play each game here, because there's a good group, but I want a fresh start in my football."

He added: "I've heard a lot about the fans, the atmosphere, the passion around the club and the way the city is just behind the club 100%.

"So I think I'm going to love it."

Magpies boss Alan Pardew was delighted to have landed a long-term transfer target.

"Gabriel is a player I've watched for the last couple of seasons since he arrived at Manchester United," he said.

"He has great pace and excellent technique and he has improved his power in the last 12 months and is ready now to make a real impact in the Premier League.

"I contacted Sir Alex Ferguson about him early at the start of the summer to see if there was an opportunity to bring him to Newcastle, but it wasn't until Wayne Routledge joined Swansea that we were able to bring him in.

"His best years are ahead of him which is exactly what we want at this club, and with the backing of our magnificent fans I'm sure he will prove an excellent signing for us."

It has been a troubled pre-season for Newcastle with fans unhappy at the lack of activity in the transfer market in the wake of the £35million sale of striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool.

Newcastle responded to criticism of the board by midfielder Joey Barton on his Twitter account by telling him he was free to find a new club despite having a year left on his contract.

Now Pardew has been able to invest some of the Carroll money and is hopeful of adding another striker to his squad before the transfer window closes.

"We certainly need to bring in a striker," he said. "We are aware of that and we are working hard on that."

He was boosted today by the return to Tyneside of midfielder Cheik Tiote after a 'routine visa application' was processed and confirmed the Ivorian will be in contention to face Arsenal in the weekend's opening match.

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